Skip to main content

Cameron Hughes at TTR City Centre


I don't shop at Costco so I was not that familiar with the Cameron Hughes brand. Costco was the first major retailer to carry these wines. I just met Cameron last week at The Tasting Room at City Centre where they were hosting both a wine tasting and a wine dinner featuring his selections. Cameron grew up in California and worked for a short time as a cellar rat before deciding to go into the sales side of the business. His business strategy has been to buy up excess wine from well regarded wine regions and producers who have a surplus. He then bottles it as his own and sells it for a significantly reduced price. The key thing being that he does not disclose his sources only the vineyard location. He buys small high end lots that he numbers rather than names due to the often one-off buying opportunities. Two days after this event, I saw a display of his wine set up at my local Kroger grocery store. His wines are becoming more available as he is now moving over 250,000 gallons of wine a year.
 
Over the course of the evening, I tasted eight of his offerings. My top picks of the night:
  • Lot 288 Sauvignon Blanc sourced from Clear Lake in Lake County north of Napa- Served with the salad course at dinner which had cucumber, frisee, watercress, radish, toasted almonds, watermelon and vanilla vinaigrette. The wine had a pronounced melon characteristic that really complemented the salad.
  • Lot 272 Tempranillo 2009 from Rioja, Spain ($12)- Cameron called this a modern style of Rioja but I would somewhat disagree with that assessment. I actually felt it was more of a bridge between the modern and traditional styles. It was modern in the fact that it was fruit forward with more fresh red cherry/raspberry flavor than you might find in a traditional style Rioja but it had been aged in American Oak, which is very traditional, rather than French Oak which I think of as part of Rioja's modern style. This imparted toasted coconut, smoke and baking spice nuances to the wine. This was paired with a spice rubbed diver scallop served in a pool of grilled corn veloute which I have to say was ridiculously good. I will admit that when I read this pairing on the menu, I was sceptical about how well it would work. It turned out to be a fantastic match where I made certain to take a sip between each bite so as not to lose any of the magic.
  • Lot 335 Oakville Meritage 2010- My favorite wine of the evening. Raspberry/Blackberry, nutmeg, damp earth, soft ripe tannins. Very smooth, balanced and easy to drink. It was served with brisket style short ribs which were a little bit too charred for my tastes.
  • Lot 285 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($24)- I had this one at the tasting prior to dinner. Blackberry/Red Currant/Cassis, smooth tannins, nice acidity.
I also wanted to compliment Chef Raymond on his Amuse Bouche, a crispy potato latke with the house cured salmon, creme fraiche, pickled red onions and micro dill, absolutely delicious. I also wanted to acknowledge his Peaches 2 Ways dessert which was also nicely done. I have attended numerous tasting events at The Tasting Room over the years but this was my first time to attend one of their wine dinners, although I didn't love the short ribs, I thought that everything else was very well done and I would recommend that you check out their future events.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

An Immersive Introduction into the World of Asolo Prosecco

Dinner Views at Osteria Alla Baracca. I was very excited to visit the Asolo DOCG Prosecco region at the end of May on a press trip as it is an Italian area that I have not previously traveled through. Asolo is located in the Province of Treviso at the foot of Monte Grappa in the high hills to the west of the Piave River with views of the Dolomites. The grapes are grown in 17 communes surrounding the town of Asolo. The days were very warm while I was there but I needed a sweater or light jacket on most evenings due to the diurnal swing that makes it a great area for grape growing. Wines from the Master Class Tasting. Asolo was elevated to the DOCG level in 2009. The majority of the Prosecco that I have found in Houston is Prosecco DOC which is mostly from very large producers. Asolo was separated from this category and the region was given this higher status because there are terroir elements that make it distinctive in the world of Prosecco. The Sant'Anna Vineyard. Many of the vin

Lust Zinfandel 2007

     My husband loves this wine so he purchased quite a few bottles at a recent Michael~David  dinner that we had attended. Last night, I decided to open a bottle to serve with dinner. I was making a roasted southwestern pork tenderloin, sweet potato fries (w/ chipolte ketchup) and a salad consisting of baby lettuce (fresh from my garden) with strawberries, red bell peppers, red onions and walnuts tossed with a white balsamic-raspberry vinaigrette.      This turned out to be a great pairing. It is a bold wine that really stood up to the strong chipolte seasoning while complementing the fruit flavors. I opened the bottle a 1/2 hour before I served it as I have found this wine to be more enjoyable when I do so.      The Lust Zinfandel by Michael~David 2007  was a dark purple color with a ruby rim. It has intense aromas of very ripe mixed berries and baking spices-both allspice and ginger with hints of cedar. It has flavors of creme de cassis, milk chocolate and also more of the baking

"The Zen of Zin" Tasting at Fleming's in River Oaks

On Friday evening, my husband and I attended the Zinfandel wine tasting at Fleming's in River Oaks. My husband gets totally pumped up for any and all things Zinfandel but what I found really intriguing in the line up of wines were the aged offerings. Brent Sloan, managing partner at Houston's premier wine storage facility Nos Caves Vin, had provided Fleming's with four 18 year old bottlings and one 17 year old bottling from his collection of some of his favorites. I found this interesting because 1. I don't believe that I have ever had an 18 year old Zinfandel before this evening and 2. From various wine classes, I had always heard that at best Zinfandel had very limited aging ability. So, I was definitely excited to give these wines a taste. There were also an additional five younger Zinfandel wines that are some of Fleming's best sellers. The entire tasting line up for the evening included: 2009 Orin Swift Saldo - California 2007 Schulz "Lampyridae Vin